Saturday, February 12, 2011

Masters of the Shadowlands Week

We are kicking off our Masters of the Shadowlands Week with Cherise Sinclair today! The Masters of the Shadowlands series centers around a private BDSM club, Club Shadowlands with each book exploring the relationship between and a different master and their submissive. The love stories each evolve in their own way, themes of the books vary to keep the series exciting but of course, one way or another, the hero and heroine find a happily ever after. Sinclair is a Master at writing in this genre, truly setting a standard for other authors to follow. The books are very near non-fictional (but aren't indeed).

WARNING: So you can't say we didn't warn you, let's lay it all out there. This series contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Anal play, BDSM theme and content, exhibitionism, voyeurism.

SO, we're starting off with the very inspiration for this week... a group review I participated in with other reviewers from the TRR site. It was oodles of fun to discuss the entire series with other fans who love Sinclair's series as much as I do, especially the newest and most complex of her books yet... MAKE ME, SIR. I'll give a single review of that book later in the week but for now, I hope you enjoy this.

The Club Shadowlands series by Cherise Sinclair is a favorite of many TRR reviewers. In the spirit of community, Debbie, Michelle R, Rebecca and Rho have come together to write a joint review on Ms Sinclair's newest installment, MAKE ME, SIR, now available at Loose Id. Each book in the Club Shadowlands' series is a romance story centered on a Club Shadowlands' Master Dominant. MAKE ME, SIR is the story of Master Marcus and FBI social worker Gabrielle. Gabrielle has been sent to Shadowlands to act as a decoy for the FBI in an attempt to uncover a ring of kidnappers targeting submissives who play in club settings.


Michelle: Ok ladies, we have to start off as always by giving MAKE ME, SIR a rating. So what do you say?
I'll start. I'm going with 5 STARS. *stands up and applauds* As always, Ms Sinclair had me riveted. I downloaded the book at midnight and fell asleep holding onto my Kindle. There just wasn't an easy place to put this one down! The entire day I just kept telling myself, "I'll go start a load of laundry after just a little bit more…" **shakes head** Clearly, I have an addiction to the Shadowlands' Masters.


Rho: I don't think there is any other option for me than 5 stars. I'd give it a whole lot more if I could. I loved Marcus and Gabi's story. It held me entranced and made me laugh, cry, and scream at my Kindle screen a bit, but all the while I was awed at how Cherise Sinclair has written such an amazing and original story...AGAIN!


Rebecca: Absolutely 5 STARS and even though I'd give each of her Shadowlands books this same rating, this book tops them all for me. Ms Sinclair sets the bar for the BDSM erotica genre, especially with her hot dominant alpha males.


Debbie: Absolutely a 5 star rating. I would rate it higher if I could. Like Rebecca, even though I have loved all of her books, to me this was by far the best. She just keeps getting better with each installment.


Rho: Ok, I think it's been firmly established that I LURVE my hot alpha men, and I love it even more when they fall hard for their woman. Who's left of the unattached Masters that you can't wait to watch fall? For me is going Master Raoul! He's got that quiet strength that is extremely sexy and he's so tender at times as well. I would love to see him get a little hot under the collar. But I really want to see how he'll use his talent with ropes on her. *shivers*


Michelle: *eyes twinkling at Rho's idea* I love a book with Shibari! It actually calls to my inner fashionista. The designs those rope masters can make are fascinating and breathtaking. I've got my fingers crossed. Maybe Nolan and Raoul can do something together.


Rho: *snorts* Fashionista. LMAO And here I am just wanting to get tied up.


Debbie: I would love to see Master Raoul with a smart mouthed bratty sub like Gabi. I would love to see him get flustered and see just how he handles it. Master Holt is fairly new. I would like to see him put through a few paces to see how he would handle the pressure.


Rebecca: I've got to see those FBI agents we met in MAKE ME, SIR fall for their perfect sub. I just know there has to be some smoking stories Sinclair has in store for them. If not, I've got some ideas myself for Galen and Vance. *wink wink*


Rho: Well, Rebecca, are you thinking of a hot federal agent sandwich maybe? Because that sounds pretty darn yummy! Two alphas for the price of one. LOL


Michelle R: I know it should be Raoul or Sam, but I am all in with you on the FBI agents! And the whole ménage / polyamorous relationship is exactly where my mind was going!! *grins, lost in a daydream* We are smutty kindred spirits, aren't we?


Debbie: Master Holt is a new addition to Shadowlands. How did you feel about him when he took Gabi so far that she blacked out and froze? I was really mad at Master Holt for doing that to her. I know they were trying to get some answers for her behavior but he was making me so angry at him for how he was treating her and what he was saying to her. Once the scene was over and I saw how scared he got and how he did actually care, it changed my opinion of him a little. I would love to see him get his own book and end up with a submissive that is hard to control and then see how he handled the situation. What do you other ladies think?


Michelle R: It would be interesting to learn more about Holt. I thought Sinclair used him in a clever way to develop the plot. The scene would have played out differently if it had been Marcus who triggered her flashback and catatonia. Either she would have not responded as strongly, because she had some basic trust in Marcus, or it could have swung the other way and really destroyed the foundation they'd built. In the same way, I also liked how the FBI's demand for secrecy meant Z had to stay quiet, and his usual insights couldn't be shared so readily with the doms. All of this worked to drive them to the climax. Really, such brilliant use of secondary characters. Brilliant.


Rebecca: It's always so difficult for me to use the term "climax" when reviewing these books. *wink* Well done, Michelle. I know. All of the Masters' true spirit and compassion came out at that point and I fell in love with them all over again. An alpha male with a sensitive side - that's the perfect combination for me.


Rho: The thing I took away most from that scene was just how important honest communication is between any sub and Dom. I mean, if Gabi had been honest (or at least been able to be honest) the whole thing could have been avoided. However, I loved Holt's response. He seems to be on the younger side as far as the Doms/Masters are concerned but he seemed to have it together and know how to take care of a sub. I hope we get to see a whole lot more of him.


Michelle: Honesty IS critical with BDSM play. Even though she didn't know she had the trigger, if she'd filled out the questionnaire honestly, they would have been better prepared.


Rebecca: I enjoyed the sub-plot of Jessica and Z that was incorporated into this book. The other books focused solely on one couple and it was unexpected to get so much information on the others. I really felt like we got to catch up with all the other couples. Which of all the couples is your favorite and why? I'll tell you mine first... Master Cullen & Andrea are my favorite couple. Watching her struggle to trust herself as well as believe she was worthy of Cullens' love was powerful. But I think much of why I like this couple hinges on the scene when Cullen goes to Andrea's aunt's home during her grandmother's birthday party. That scene melted my heart. His commitment to the developing relationship couldn't be questioned after that.


Rho: I love how Andrea calls Master Cullen "Senor". LOL. And that scene you are talking about is one of my absolute favorites in the whole book. I like that Master Cullen seems so easy going and then you say something wrong and you may end up being a bar ornament!


Michelle R: *turns red* A bar ornament. That's been my nightmare since Jessica sat atop his bar. Jessica and Z will always be first for me. Even though the teacher in me relates to Kari, I think I spiritually connected more to Jessica. I'd want to beat the doody out of anyone, even a mean scary dom, if I thought one of my girls was unhappy. It would be instinctual and I'd end up in as much trouble as she does. I think my mouth may be even worse than hers too. Z's maturity and his ability to nurture and pick up on others fascinates me. They are both so strong and different, and yet so perfect together. *sighs* Yep. MAKE ME, SIR really satisfied that need to get more J and Z.


Rebecca: I related to Jessica and was sooo excited to hear more about her and Z too. When an author can revisit a character from a previous book and weave them into the story so that they are essential to the storyline, I call that genius.


Rho: Oooh, that's a hard one. I feel like every time I read a new book in the series, I like that couple the best! LOL I have to say that Master Marcus and Gabi have been my favorite couple. I am such a sucker for Southern gentlemen (this Yankee has been married to one for the last 10 years!) and I just loved how Gabi came in and turned Master Marcus' world upside down and made him reevaluate everything he thought he wanted in a sub. I loved the strength of conviction and character in both Marcus and Gabi, championing for those who have been hurt by others--trying to make it right for the victims again. And the fact that they burned up the sheets together....well that's just the icing on the cake!


Michelle R: Ohh. Rho, I was raised in Texas, so that man curled my toesies too. *sheepish grin* That southern drawl is my undoing!


Rho: Yep, gotta love that Southern drawl. My hubby still knows how to win me over by using that. *blushes*


Debbie: I love Master Marcus. I'm with you ladies. That southern drawl just makes me melt. Every time he was call her darlin' my knees just went weak.
**collective sigh**


Michelle R: I thought this book was chock full of tension - sexual tension, sensual tension, emotional tension, and suspense-filled tension, thanks to those kidnappers. Without revealing too much, what was your favorite tension filled moment? I've got to go with the tension between Marcus and Gabi when they tried to maintain control of themselves. He's thinkin' "I'm her trainer not her Master. I can't do that." And she's busy thinking, "This isn't real. I am just here as a decoy to catch the kidnappers." And the two of them are working so hard to keep it professional and not fall in love. All that holdin' back just about killed me. **looks at her nails** I need a new manicure. I just didn't handle all that angst well at all.


Rho: I'm just going to say two words: HOT STUFF. *shivers* I think those of you who have read the book will know exactly what I mean. I get goose bumps just thinking about that scene. Master Marcus is an unbelievable Dom. *sigh*


Michelle: *bouncing in her seat* I know exactly the part you are talking about. Have mercy! *fans herself* She may be funny, but she sure gets her rump in trouble. *wink, wink*


Rho: Yeah, I felt like a lot of their great intense scenes started out with or ended with humor. I loved that about them as a couple.


Rebecca: I loved the humor between Marcus and Gabi too. It made them real to me... and I was just a bit envious of their ease and chemistry as a couple.


Debbie: My favorite tension filled moment was the way Gabi felt during the candle play. And then what happened at the end of it. But I was also on the edge of my seat at the docks. OMG that was a tense few pages of reading.


Rebecca: OK... my tense moment that just won't leave me when I think back on the story is not as much fun. I can't stop thinking on the scene when Marcus restrains Gabi outdoors with the other Masters around. He knows exactly what he wants - the truth about why she misbehaves - but the whole time, I just know what is going to happen. My heart is thumping and I'm repeating over and over in my head "don't do this. don't do this. don't do this." and when the scene ends, I'm actually closing my eyes because I don't want to know just how bad it's going to be.


Rho: That was such a crucial point in the book. It's like the turning point in their relationship. I agree I was on the edge of my seat, biting my nails and cringing my way through it. That was definitely a time when I started yelling at the kindle screen.


Michelle: That was a defining moment in the book for sure. My tummy still churns for them all. They were trying to help. To take care of her. Talk about backfiring.


Rebecca: I know. All of the Masters' true spirit and compassion came out at that point and I fell in love with them all over again. An alpha male with a sensitive side - that's the perfect combination for me.


Michelle: Well ladies, it really has been wonderful sharing this experience with you. For some reason, this series is one I can talk for hours about with my girlfriends. On chat boards or by the beach with a fruity drink in my hand, I've had as much fun reliving these books with friends as I have reading them. What are your final thoughts as we wrap this up?


Debbie: I have loved this entire series. They just seem to get better with each installment. I hope in future books we will continue to see some of the other couples come back. I loved the added suspense in this book also. Cherise is a master of the arts. All I can say is that she can't write these books fast enough to suit me.


Rho: This is a fabulous series. It's erotic, it's romantic, has wonderfully suspenseful plots, and amazing characters (including so many yummy sexy alpha men--I did say I LURVE them, didn't I?). But even more than that, I think it's a wonderful introduction to the BDSM genre of Erotica, or even the lifestyle. I love that Cherise Sinclair added a note from the author in this book telling people that it's great to be curious or interested in the lifestyle, but to BE SMART, and realize that these are books, so it's not exactly how things would be in real life. It's wonderful how much Cherise cares for her readers. She's truly amazing! And I, for one, cannot WAIT until the next book comes out -- it's soon, right? Please tell me it's soon.


Rebecca: I'm sure I already said this but it can be said again... Sinclair sets a standard and I measure all other books in this genre against her series. It's erotically delicious while combining romance and suspense. Not just an afterthought, the BDSM component is integrated into the developing relationships so seamlessly that it could not be the same story without it. What a realistic view of the BDSM lifestyle.


And there you have it, Dear Readers, high praise and a whole lotta swoonin' from these reviewers. And just so you can't say we didn't tell ya, we want to point out that Shadowlands' is a private BDSM club, so expect dominance/submission play, exhibitionism, mild pain play, mild verbal abuse, oral/anal/vaginal sex, some seriously sensual play, toys and wickedly creative doms who play with them, independent strong submissives, and hunky alpha doms who love nothing better than giving a subbie exactly what she needs, especially when it involves huggin'. It's BDSM, friends, so prepare to have your toes curl! And as always, ENJOY!


Reviewed by Debbie, Michelle R, Rebecca and Rho


This interview/ review was originally done for The Romance Reviews.
http://erotic.theromancereviews.com/viewbooksreview.php?bookid=1320
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